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tv   The Cycle  MSNBC  February 6, 2013 12:00pm-1:00pm PST

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today in the cycle, president obama works through his top secret meeting with senate democrats and what he said that can throw the party into chaos. >> president obama is going to o spring break and does he need it. i have a feeling he will be leaving his board shorts at home this time. >> in st. louis, the president has a tough job. we all work hard for the money. when is the last time he got a raise. >> plenty of bark. what he is doing to help new york grow its way back from hurricane sandy.
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say farewell to the old fiscal cliff and debt ceiling and get used to this word. sequester. it hit in march if congress doesn't act. if you lost track of the debt ceiling and budget battles t came out of the debt limit deal. it was the white house's idea to hold washington's feet to the fire. the cuts were never supposed to happen. the committee that replaced them failed and at the start of the ewe near, the deal triggered even further until march 1st. we are faced with the looming cuts a few weeks away that boiled down to $85 billion that will be slashed by this fall if nothing happens. the focus has been on the cuts and the entire $1.2 trillion will be a 50-50 defense between
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defense and spending. to put us into perspective is the center for social inclusion. the sequester was designed to be something that would never happen. prot expect would scare washington into coming out with something else. there sounds out of washington, particularly from republicans that they might be okay with nothing happening and sequester being triggered. half is defense and half non-domestic discretionary spending. can you explain to people what would be cut if the sequester goes into effect. >> it's a pleasure to be here. it's an important set of questions for americans. what we are talking about is whether half of these cuts are going to prevent our children from getting the supports they need to get educated in school including children with disabilities. whether we are going to be supporting the elderly to help with their heating bill or in the summertime, their air
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conditioning. whether we provide homeless assistance for people who are homeless to get them back into permanent housing. we are talking about a series of programs that not only help our citizens get back to work. they are fundamental to ensuring families will just survive to the end of the paycheck. >> practically speak the alternative if you look at what president obama laid out yesterday rveg yesterday, he was asking them to take it off the table and put the idea of a grand bargain back on the table. it takes that same basic $1.2 trillion target and this time about half from new revenues and closing loopholes and deductions. the other half is from sbrilthsmentes and this idea of cpi which is a reduction in benefits for people. how would you compare the grand bargains to the programs in which you are talking about if
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the sequester takes place. is one worse than the other? >> do we have to have this discussion at all? we should be looking at a patient approach. we are in a time when the economy is fragile and some of the communities hardest hit by the economy that we are currently in whether it's rural communities or white men who lost jobs and lost employment at higher rates and had a harder time finding jobs. that means investing in our people and infrastructure like public transit and broadband access and all the things that get our economy back to work and create jobs, jobs, jobs. that's what this is about. our deficit has been coming down and the patient approach is to recognize that we actually have time. we should bring the deficit down, but we have time. we should take the cuts off the table and think about how to get the economy going.
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if people work again, we are on the road to solving the problem. >> to that point and looking at the cuts you have been pointing out to head start and cuts to wic, the women, infant and children nutritional assistant program, they are penny wise and foolish and may be making things worse in the long run. >> i'm glad you raised that, crystal. if you think about the single mom working 12 hours a day and her paycheck does not take her to the end of the month on food. what she realizes and has been a responsible mom, but realizes after she makes the decision to have her child not have an abortion is that her paycheck is not going to help her feed her infant. the women infant children program not only feeds these families, it also teaches them about nutrition and how to be healther and live healthier
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lives. this is important for families and the economy. we are helping people stay healthy longer and one of the reasons we have a deficit problem is controlling health care costs. these are controlling some of the costs we care about. >> going back to steve's point and the reality of this, how do you convince democrats to both protect the programs that you are talking about and not worry so much about entitlement reform or sort of stick to their idea of entitlement without giving one or the other up? >> it's an important question and i am glad you asked that. one thing we have to think about is what we need to take care of. the fastest growing segment of the population right now. those who are 65 and older. when we are talking about that, i don't like to use the word entitlements. what we are talking about is our parents and grandparents going to be able to care for themselves after they stop working and will they have a
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health care they need? it's something we have to talk about and how we take care of the needs of our elderly as the fastest growing population. this is one of the things that suggested what we should do is slow down. we should take these measures that are requiring us to speed up and make fast decisions when we have time to figure out how to do it right and how to do it in a way to invest in our future. we have dropped. i will switch to education, but our children used to be number one in the united states of america. we are now at 12th because we have been cutting funding. we are looking at cutting literally losing support for education for over 1.7 million children and by the way, more than half of those will be black and latino children, the fastest growing demographic racially. >> just to follow-up, you don't top the call it entitlement
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reform and i understand that point, but would you encourage democrats to error reforms in an effort to look forward as patiently as you might want overtime? >> yeah and i think democrats have been willing to look at the programs. the question is how. it's starting with the frame that said if you look at the budget deficits, one of the things that is important for americans to understand, the biggest spikes in the deficits we had, world war i. world war ii. iraq and afghanistan. when we invest in war, our costs go way up and so does our budget deficit. we are in a process right now where the deficit is starting to come down. that's the good news. that's part of slowing down. democrats have been willing to look at those programs. we start with the frame of how do we take care of our people? when we start with that lens of how we take care of them, we hope up the opportunity to innovate and think about how we
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take care of all of us. >> i have two for you. i like that lens. you are talking about i like you challenging the notion of calling it entitlements. what should we call it instead? >> i think we should call it investment. take social security. one third of all americans rely 90% of the pay they get to pay for food and pay their rent and pay for their heating bill is paid for by social security. for over 50% of americans, social security is paying close to 50% of their cost of living. we have to look at what people are actually able to pay their bills. far too many americans are retiring without the ability to pay for their cost of living. that means they are sinking into poverty. if you are black, by the way, the rate is 40% of black people rely on social security to pay 90% of expenses because we earn
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way fewer wages unfortunately. i think we have to look at it for what does it take to care for ourselves and our aging population? the president said it in his inaugural address quite well. we are not being to disinvest in the generations that built this country or turn our backs on those who continue to built the future. that should be our principal. >> that's right. the other thing is brinksmanship. is this a way to run an effective government? >> no. that's why i think we have to start looking at patience and data and have an informed discussion. it's parnt that this is a bipartisan effort. this is more about politics than the priorities of a country. the priorities are jobs, jobs, jobs. what economists are telling us is in order to make sure we are
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solidifying recovery and investing in economic future and protecting our people means we that we have to invest and talk about what the investments should be and how they should work and how we pay for them. that means we will have to talk about investing in people and at the same time we will have to talk about raising revenue. i think taking a patient approach to not do brinksmanship and not make bipartisan decisions as we heard from steve at the top of the hour unless we are taking the time to do it right. >> maya wiley, thanks for joining us. up next, if you thought the hagel confirmation hearing was great political theater, just wait. the cycle rolls on february 6th, wednesday. [ male announcer ] you know that guy that's got a ham radio in his basement.
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the senate armed services committee can vote as early easy tomorrow on the confirmation of chuck hagel for secretary. if he makes it through and he probably will, it's on to a full senate vote. about a dozen senators are expected to vote no in large part because of past statements with israel, iran and nuclear weapons. president obama is planning a trip to the region in april. that is billed as a way to repair a strained relationship who himself just won reelection in a bruising campaign.
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sounds familiar there. actually the domestic political situation in israel is fascinating. as i indicated, netanyahu won the most seats, 31 in the past election. it was many fewer than what was expected. it was a surprising surge from a new party headed by a man who is called the oprah of israel. a pinterest party. now the question for netanyahu informing his coalition government. will he partner with the far right as he has in the past or try to person with the new centrist and form a new coalition and move to the left and make concessions as part of that. some of the concessions he would likely have to make is to restart the peace process. he has to present his new government on march 16th. that is the timeline for that happening.
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it could impact the situation and what the president's visit could accomplish. >> an interesting side note, the israeli oprah, he won his election not by doing the traditional pushes for foreign policy reform that one usually does in israel. he really won on domestic issues like lowering taxes and affordable housing and all that kind of stuff. an interesting thing to watch. i think the israel trip for the president accomplishes a couple of things. one, the announcement boosts the chuck hagel nomination. it's saying i'm going there. i know i didn't make it to israel in my first four years of office, but i'm going. if you are reading into this nomination, don't. it rubber stamps john kerry as secretary of state. john kerry wants to make the israeli and little east process
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a big part of his agenda. obama's way of saying i'm taking that message and just nominated this guy and i am taking john kerry with me in spirit. for us in terms of policy, it probably has less to do with israel and the palestinians and more to do on our end with syria, egypt, iran and seeing what we can flush out in terms of three different theaters. there is a lot on. agenda and does a lot of things. >> my read on the rational behind obama going-over there, i read it more as a triumphant move. >> a victory lap? >> if you look how netanyahu expected the last few months to play out here in the united states and in israel, it went the opposite of what he was thinking. a year ago he was really missing no opportunity to sort of try to turn the heat up on obama and american domestic politics.
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he believed obama was going to lose reelection. they were telling him the right was being told over here. he say no termer. he can never get reelected and soon you will have a president that is your kind of president. someone who said what you want, you will get. the message he was getting. chuck schumer called him at the height of the campaign and said obama is going to win and the u.s. starts to adjust for that. between him winning a race that netanyahu never thought he was going to win and missing no opportunity and netanyahu himself ending up in sort of a messy situation, i think that's interesting and it's an interesting context to the visit. >> mitt romney promised he would make israel his first. >> his first. i want to quickly mention and talk about the hagel confirmation hearings, i'm interested to watch, he will make it through the committee
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and get confirmed, but how many republicans are going to vote for him? right now only two of 45 are on the record saying they are yes votes. probably about 20 have not said anything. my concern was we know there is not going to be a filibuster. mccain and a few others said no filibuster. that's healthy for the process, but this normalizes bad ap sigz party behavior. if they they treat this as a party line vote, they vote no. i don't want cabinet members to be party line votes. the white house's party controls the senate and what about the situation where the white house does not control the senate? if these are normalized as party line votes, it's a bad precedence and important for the system if hagel doesn't pick up at least a handful of votes. >> one of the things you noticed
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about the hagel nomination, this attempt to enforce this dogmatic vision of this is how we help israel and if you are not talking about that, you are anti-semitic and i don't think that's fair or appropriate. there many ways to help israel and i think everybody in the process of america wants to help israel and perhaps talking to iran and hezbollah and talking to enemies and putting them in line can help israel and the idea that there is only one way to help and shun iran and shun hezbollah is not only way. >> you sound like chuck hagel. >> interestingly, the israel group and others who were thinking of opposing the nomination ultimately decided to just say nothing and stay out of it. that was part of a piece of being able to move forward and his likely confirmation. straight ahead, a story that
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as congress in the white house grple with potentially catastrophic spending cuts, the lowest next americans stand to feel the deepest impact. the current situation is no picnic either. the federal minimum wage is stuck at $7.25 for the past years, that ranks us near the bottom of all advanced nations in the world. is there will to help all americans earn a decent living. where is the president in all of this? those are the questions matt miller is asking. a columnist for "the washington
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post" and he joins us now. i want to answer two basic questions. the first is from an economic standpoint for the people who benefit from this and the country as a whole, make the economic case for raising the minimum wage right now. >> well, first you have something like between the people who work at the minimum wage and the people near the minimum. between $7.25 an hour and $10 an hour, you have 30 million american workers. if we brought it up in a way that is rational and doesn't put a burden on business, you inject billions of dollars of stimulus into the e economy and make life a little bit less oppressive for people who work full time who are at the bottom of the income scale. you are talking about people making -- if it's 2,000 hours a
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year, that's 16, 17, $20,000 a year. you can't get by on that in the u.s. >> you make a strong case there, but let me ask you about the politics. the republicans control and one of the legislative chambers in the house, especially the obama era and in general the party very, very sensitive to the concerns of the business community and not putting any needless burden on business. what is the political path you see to getting a raise in the minimum wage any time soon? >> it tarts with the president advocating it. as i said in my column, he has been silent on this since the campaign despite reporting an increase at that time. i understand he had a melt down in crisis to deal with, but at this point when tens of millions of americans are being left behind, he needs to lead. on the republican side, businesses is not opposed to an increase in the minimum wage.
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mitt romney in the campaign agreed with the idea that we should index the minimum wage to inflation and that supports an increase overtime. it doesn't lose a 30 of the value. at the same time you have business leader who is i quote is the ceo of kelly services and also the cochair of the business-led think tank for economic development. he thinks we need to think about how to make sure that work is rewarded in america. that includes some kind of hike in the minimum wage. i think this is politically popular. if they do the polling and think what b what is just, there would be consensus here. >> it makes political sense and makes economic sense. what is the really reason why obama is not making this happen? too much on his plate or campaign finance?
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>> maybe there was too much on his plate. i think it plays a role because you have both pearties now to major corporate donors who oppose moves like this and obama didn't like being cast as aspect business that was during his first term. i think at this point it comes dun to try to get this on the screen and realize that it's a way to boost the economy and it's also a way that you want to be economically rational. this debate goes to hey, conservatives will say hey, if $10 an hour is good, just get $100 an hour and people on the left will say if you think minimum wage is so awful, bring back slavery. obviously we can find something in the middle that assures a decent minimum in a global economy for tens of millions of american families.
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>> we were just having that discussion. >> who was for slavery? >> i think you know. you put an entering frame on things by saying that a good conservative argument work should be rewarded and a libertarian activist who was advocating for an increase and i wonder if another argument would appeal to a lot of folks. the minimum wage, keeping it low is another form of corporate welfare and the burden is placed on taxpayers and what people survive on. this is a form of corporate welfare and i wonder if you can get into the perspective and why he supports this move as well. >> i think what's interesting about ron is he's a conservative who is -- he's proposing $10 an
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hour. ron uns is saying i will see your 10 and raise it to 12. his argument is for the last four decades, there is tons of policies proposed and cool loans now. huge amounts of student debt and the programs that are trying to lift people at the bottom and the working poor fall further mind. instead of the government programs, if we think that people's wages should be higher, why don't we raise the wages? i think the point you make about it ends up being corporate welfare is interesting, i am in favor of things like the earned next tack credit. you don't want to raise the min mihm so high, it prices people without skills out of the market. employers say we can't afford to hire them. you want to have the right balance of a high enough minimum
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wage and the earned income tax credit and a wage subsidy to make sure as america we decide as a society what a decent minimum is in the 21st century. >> let me throw a wrench into this minimum wage love fest and having a minimum wage at all issed abois bad for boor people. it stifles hiring and doesn't account for regional costs of living difference around the country. plenty of states have their own minimum wage. why do we need a federal minimum wage? >> again, i can see the pro slavery slipping back in here. >> you know it. you know where i'm going with this. you caught me. >> why pay workers at all? >> here's my answer. i think first of all just
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empirically on the evidence it's not true that the minimum wage is inconsistent with high employment levels and we had it for decades. that was before the financial collapse. considered very much on full employment. it's not inconsistent with that. the most important thing is it's a definition of what a minimally decent life is that we agree is the result of full time work. >> 'can't that happen at the state level? >> my fear for the republicans is that their view of the decent minimum is you are lucky to be in america and luck tow have a job and luck tow have the emergency room. my view is the decent minimum should be 10 to $12 an hour and decent health coverage. that's a debate we should have. >> why not at the state level?
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>> this is a global economy. i think as a united states of america, we should have a point of view on that. so we may disagree on that. there state minimums and there 18 to 19 states now and the feds have left too many people behind. >> here's the other thing. because we are providing assistance and things like food stamps at the federal level, it's not fair if texas has a low minimum wage and the taxpayers are asked to pick up the rest of the burden. i would say what constitutes a different living and cocost of living are fair assessments. in general a decent living should be the same whether you are in texas or california. >> par spoiled opens of having a slavery-free show. you spoiled that. next, big changes for the postal
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service and angst for the cliff clachbs out there. >> let's see what topics we have in the fail bag. here's one. anybody have a chance to call a tv repairman lately? what's up with that? blop
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and the twitter. that means the postal service loses about $36 million a day. the usps announced they are no longer delivering letters and mail on saturdays starting august 5th. they will still handle packages which is a agreeing business for them. that's good. the move is expected to save them about $2 billion a year. at what cost? first the milk man and then the repair man and now the mail man. say it ain't so. let's back spin. this is really a sad thing for me. i can remember waiting for the mail man to come. it was a big deal in my house and the mail man would come and get the mail and see what he would bring us. progress is not always in a straight lane. you have e-mail and facebook and ways of communicating, but the art of writing letters is special. >> groen. >> the way people communicates
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is different and losing that way of communicating is really a loss for society. who is saving e-mails for the smithsonian? letters we have saved from the 1700s and 1800s are important for society. this is sad for another reason too. there could be a lot of jobs lost. the postal union said 80,000 jobs could be lost and others say it could be closer to 20,000 jobs. the postmaster general said he can do this without layoffs at all. >> no one will stop you. >> right now the postal service runs in excess of 10% overtime. almost 12%. we have done this on purpose by not hiring and using attrition to take advantage of people leaving without having to resort to layoffs. we think by eliminating overtime and looking at flexibility we have with the part-time workforce, people, no layoffs. we will not lay off for a responsible employer. >> i am not sure this is going
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to solve the main problem. the postal service has to fund the health plan for 75 years over a short period of time. that costs billions. that's the real problem, not delivering mail on saturday. >> no one is stopping you from writing letters. you can write me letters every week. i will accept that. >> i can't, but we as a society are not doing that. the post man is feeling that. now we zap an e-mail. who put that time and thought into an e-mail? >> i have more e-mails than letters. >> i don't live in the 60s. not to dump on everything, but i would like to get rid of the post office if we are getting rid of them. >> that's the number three agency. >> can't remember. i am going to quote on bloomberg last year. he put it this way. postal service plan: kill trees, annoy people, lose money.
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boom. >> yeah. i think it might be worthwhile to take a step back and think about what the postal service -- >> i don't like taking a step back to think about anything. >> clearly. that's what we want. >> there is outrage. >> clearly. >> it makes for easy. >> just guts. >> it makes for a very easy target for people who just say well, the government wastes so much money and nobody sends letters and we don't need saturday mail and we just need u.p.s. and fedex. it's a federal agency. does not take federal money. we talk about the money they are using. >> i didn't say that. we have privatized mail that would be u.p.s. and fedex. one thing to remember is they do not have the distribution network that they have.
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they are not interested because it's not profitable. the profit is all that matters. what ends up happening is fedex contracts out to the postal service. one out of five do you means are sent and end up being delivered by the postal service. only the postal service will go to the places that are profitable. we have to make a decision eventually. restructuring and changing the way we think about the postal service. it is a vital service to a huge section of america that won't be served by privatized mail. >> right. just to put it out there, i am not particularly bothered by this specific change of getting rid of saturday mail, but you are right. it reminds me of the debate over subsidizing amtrak or railroads. that's something that republicans are also really a posed to. government money doesn't go to
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this. this reminds me of if this is something that prois us social good. i think it does. they were pointing out that it will not surprise you to learn that congress had a major hand in messing up the postal service both through the requirement that no other federal government entity has to refund their health benefits by 75 years. they also prohibited them from providing any non-postal services or contracting with local and state agencies to provide services. they are kept from being able to innovate thing that is the local community would find useful. >> we have to take government off their backs. >> there rural communities that need the postal service and over 200,000 people who work there and need the service. what kind of service would it be
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to not deliver mail to people. one of the endities that is hurting is facebook. we love the fans and they are weighing in on dropping saturdays and letter and catalog delivery. not all of them will miss it. sarcastically asking, mail comes on saturday? yes, it does. the cycle delivers seven day a week, five days on tv. follow us and like us to be part of the conversation. coming up next, our guests prove inspiration can come from anywhere. in this case they bet him in williams so nome a. very liberal story for him to be in. meet the after hours artist hurting from the wreckage of hurricane sand tow new hope for the city. when you lost the thing you can't believe you lost. when what you just bought, just broke. or when you have a little trouble
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what would have been wood chip or waste he carves into bowls and vases. he teamed up with the new york restoration project, a nonprofit dedicated to replanting trees and is donating 20% of sales to the cause. in our guest spot is agent and artist. before people accuse me of being some tree hugging touchy feely liberal, i am not. i walked into williams sonoma and saw you and thought these were beautiful. we struck up a conversation and you told me about what you were doing. >> so the individual project itself of using trees specifically from hurricane sandy came about after hurricane sandy obviously. it was spawned by an earlier idea of using trees that were naturally found in new york city from the parks just after hurricane sandy and the tens of thens that fell. i thought what an opportunity to collect them and then use that to do something with it.
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i started teaming up with the new york restoration project to donate the sales back to them. one thing sort of connected to another. now i have a spot in williams sonoma in march. it's amazing that they will sell the pieces. >> amazing. >> this is not just a bowl, but a message about waste and opportunity. what do you mean by that? >> to me, what that means is that in like opportunity is all around us. it's a matter of seeing it and discovering it. and a lot of that, i think, comes from inspiration or love. you love something -- i really love doing this. i don't need to do it to make money, i just love doing it. i love seeing people happy. so out of that, i found a way to make it happen. and it was just a nice way. it just so happened it was using trees that would go to waste and be thrown away or turned into mulch.
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>> and you said 19,000 trees were downed? >> more than that. but that was i think just street trees in new york city. >> that's crazy. and you know where each of these bowls -- >> every single one. >> -- where they came from in the park? >> every single one. >> are you still out there collecting trees? >> yep. >> where are they not cleaned up? >> well, if you venture into the parks a little bit off the beaten path, off the sidewalks, you don't have to go far in until you find a freshly downed tree. >> you are distinguishing between the trees from the storm and just fallen trees in general. >> yep. >> at this point are stuff still out there you can say is still from the storm? >> yes. some i've categorized with the nyrp that these are trees that fell from hurricane sandy. and i go to the nyrp sites where they save the downed trees.
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>> what has the response been like in the community here? >> the response has been amazing. from, you know, i do these markets at william sonoma, i had women cry when i told them that this came from a tree that fell during hurricane sandy. it came from in this case central park. and i take the money and give it back to replant the trees. and they cry. >> talk just about the work that new york restoration project does. >> they go to community spaces in new york city area. so it could be gardens, could be parks, could be trails. my specific work with them obviously is going to the parks, the love for the trees. >> so if someone can't get to the william sonoma where i met you, how can they either buy one of your pieces or donate? >> well, they could go to my website which is topher ddespre
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or go to the site. and they are go to the nyrp and donate there. >> thank you so much. >> i have one surprise though. >> i love a surprise. >> i brought that for you. i didn't know there were going to be other anchors or i would have brought other pieces. >> what is this? >> i thought it was just going to be you and me. >> oh, this is fantastic. >> and on the bottom? >> hurricane sandy. thank you so much. that is gorgeous. >> very cool. >> thanks for joining us. straight ahead, hillary or no hillary, steve's got some new evidence 2016 may bethe year a woman finally wins the white house. is it me? ♪ aw this is tragic man, investors just like you could lose tens of thousands of dollars on their 401(k) to hidden fees. thankfully e-trade has low cost investments and no hidden fees.
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you might have missed it, but there was a report this week that janet napolitano wants to run for president in 2016. news raised a few eyebrows but it didn't exactly make waves which in a way is a big deal. it means the novelty of female presidential candidates is really starting to wear off. let's try to put this in perspective. before hillary clinton's campaign in 2008, just three women had sought the democratic presidential nomination. one of them shirley chisolm and pat schroder and carol mosley braun didn't make it to the first contest. few others contemplated running.
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she never took any real steps to run. diane feinstein dropped hints at a future white house bid on her mind in the late 1980s only to then lose the governors race to pete wilson in 1990. instead of running for the top job in 1992, feinstein was left to settle for a senate seat, a seat she has been happy to keep since then. and that is really it as far as female prospects for the democratic prospect. until 2008 when hillary clinton won 18 million votes and a bunch of primaries and caucuses. where she lost to a black man who went on to win the white house and defeated a republican ticket that included a woman. excuse me. it included a woman. in the wake of all of that, the notion that the terms presidential prospect in white guy went happened in hand to feel antiquated. the clear front runner


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